The grazing season

Barrowsider

Well-Known Member
Grazed on and off for much of February, cows are out full time since Feb 25th with no silage fed since. March was a great month. Thought we would have to skip the end of the first round but with the slowdown in growth it looks like we'll get it all grazed off. They're grazing a mixture of first and second round grass at the moment with 10% of the second round grazed.

I was too slow at skipping paddocks during April and May last year, hope to make a better job of it this year.

A drop of soft rain and a bit of kindness would be most welcome.
 

Ozzy Scott

Well-Known Member
Grass DM is gone super high and also sugars are exceptionally high probably due to the slower growth rates. Doubt we have grown over 25 yet.
 

Ozzy Scott

Well-Known Member
How often do you test your grass?
Doing detailed tests give or take every 3 weeks this year. I want to see what correlations exists between what I'm doing and the grass grown, and what type of product we are trying to make cattle eat. Try monitor sugar on a day of a measure.... I detest measuring, but have a few non performing paddocks, I need to root out and see what they actually are doing.

I have never seen sugars so high in grass across the board as during the last week. I must check sunshine levels, as with a growth rate of 25, we are growing. Maybe the grass is stressing with the cold and pulling sugars up to the foliage. I really dont know.

Every stock man will have noticed this, as stock are so content, even in fields with little grass.
 

jay gatsby

Well-Known Member
Doing detailed tests give or take every 3 weeks this year. I want to see what correlations exists between what I'm doing and the grass grown, and what type of product we are trying to make cattle eat. Try monitor sugar on a day of a measure.... I detest measuring, but have a few non performing paddocks, I need to root out and see what they actually are doing.

I have never seen sugars so high in grass across the board as during the last week. I must check sunshine levels, as with a growth rate of 25, we are growing. Maybe the grass is stressing with the cold and pulling sugars up to the foliage. I really dont know.

Every stock man will have noticed this, as stock are so content, even in fields with little grass.
Absolutely agree on cattle being content. Bright sunny days, cold nights will lead to grass storing sugars which should lead to high availability for stock. Might not be ideal conditions for growing a large bulk of matter but the grass might be doing what we need it to do in the current conditions
 

Rusty Spade

Well-Known Member
Doing detailed tests give or take every 3 weeks this year. I want to see what correlations exists between what I'm doing and the grass grown, and what type of product we are trying to make cattle eat. Try monitor sugar on a day of a measure.... I detest measuring, but have a few non performing paddocks, I need to root out and see what they actually are doing.

I have never seen sugars so high in grass across the board as during the last week. I must check sunshine levels, as with a growth rate of 25, we are growing. Maybe the grass is stressing with the cold and pulling sugars up to the foliage. I really dont know.

Every stock man will have noticed this, as stock are so content, even in fields with little grass.
I was the same but it's probably the most valuable hour I spend on the farm every week.

Everybody measures grass, you simply have to to manage it at all, but putting figures on those measurements allows much better decisions be made. When I started measuring, I was about 4 days behind in taking out surplus grass. Last year, I was probably 2 days behind taking out surplus paddocks. But we had a huge improvement in yields and solids the two years I've been measuring and we're up again so far this year. I'm hitting paddocks at 1400 more often now so I hope I'll keep improving.

And I've been able to single out the worst paddocks for growing at the shoulders and target those with manure, slurry and fertiliser because the soil test results showed them to be the worst in P and need a shot of lime as well. They may be reseeded as well but I haven't made up my mind yet about doing those or a few of the silage fields.
 

Joseph 88

Well-Known Member
I was the same but it's probably the most valuable hour I spend on the farm every week.

Everybody measures grass, you simply have to to manage it at all, but putting figures on those measurements allows much better decisions be made. When I started measuring, I was about 4 days behind in taking out surplus grass. Last year, I was probably 2 days behind taking out surplus paddocks. But we had a huge improvement in yields and solids the two years I've been measuring and we're up again so far this year. I'm hitting paddocks at 1400 more often now so I hope I'll keep improving.

And I've been able to single out the worst paddocks for growing at the shoulders and target those with manure, slurry and fertiliser because the soil test results showed them to be the worst in P and need a shot of lime as well. They may be reseeded as well but I haven't made up my mind yet about doing those or a few of the silage fields.

Great post, Once you get into the habit of doing a grass round it becomes routine, similar to a fertiliser round!
As a matter of interest do guys use a plate meter, cut and weigh or just by eye?
 

indecisive sort

Well-Known Member
Use a plate meter here, very happy with it, it's just a task that's taking up time, have been looking in to trailed devices, but no success there. Grass really slow this Spring. Buffering strong ATM.....

worked on a dairy farm North of Christchurch NZ twenty years ago , that was me pushing off the hay in the paddocks to the dry cows only with my hands , hoor of a job when you are being shouted at the whole time by a herd manager from hell on the tractor while you are doing your best not to fall of the moving trailer.
 

Peter

Well-Known Member
I am down on numbers grazing due to the beam scheme but I have to say it has worked out very well for me. The groups of heavier cattle are starting on the second round of grazing and the lighter lads are finishing off the first round of grazing on the wetter part of the farm. The field below was closed off last year on the 15th of october and I put the cattle on it yesterday to graze. Im following the cattle with 2 bags of 18 6 12.

20210409_153359.jpg
 

podge 23

Well-Known Member
Was thinking of trying to get going here on the measuring grass side of things,lads that are at it how did ye learn to do it at the start or did ye do a course on it or what ?
 

mixedbag

Well-Known Member
This is definitely the best way if it is an option for you. But a scales, shears And quadrant and use the cut and weigh method to calibrate your eye
 

Bencroy

Well-Known Member
Folks, call me backward or living in the last century but I can't fathom out this art of grass measuring cutting and weighing grass.
It makes me wonder that when your out and about through the paddocks that people cant observe whats going on your farm knowing where regrowth is fast or slow and knowing a general weather forecast for 7 to 10 days ahead where your going to have to much or to little.
No matter what science and measuring says and how accurate it may be ,the cow will be the one that will tell you how good or bad your calculations are.
I see 3 of the neighbours here ( dont know much about other 2 ,there was 5 trail farms locally ) but they were rearing dairy bull calves on trial for 12 months for teasgasc.teagasc gave them a figure for quantity of silage required for the winter that would be required on their farms.in fairness they all produced top quality silage but the figures they were given was 2 months out.they were all buying.
That's why I'm secepital of doing figures saying you have plenty of quality in front of the cow.when instead a good observing eye and common sense is far more practical .
 

Nashty

Well-Known Member
Folks, call me backward or living in the last century but I can't fathom out this art of grass measuring cutting and weighing grass.
It makes me wonder that when your out and about through the paddocks that people cant observe whats going on your farm knowing where regrowth is fast or slow and knowing a general weather forecast for 7 to 10 days ahead where your going to have to much or to little.
No matter what science and measuring says and how accurate it may be ,the cow will be the one that will tell you how good or bad your calculations are.
I see 3 of the neighbours here ( dont know much about other 2 ,there was 5 trail farms locally ) but they were rearing dairy bull calves on trial for 12 months for teasgasc.teagasc gave them a figure for quantity of silage required for the winter that would be required on their farms.in fairness they all produced top quality silage but the figures they were given was 2 months out.they were all buying.
That's why I'm secepital of doing figures saying you have plenty of quality in front of the cow.when instead a good observing eye and common sense is far more practical .
I am not a dairy farmer, but my understanding is that there is a sweet spot when it comes to the production of milk solids from grass - i.e. if you let the cows into grass that is slightly too strong, the solids will drop and the residuals will be poor which in turn means the quality of the grass will be poor the following round. Simple enough formula really. The other scenario is if the covers are too low for grazing then you will run around the farm too quickly and there won't be time enough for the grass to grow back for the next round. Most of the top dairy men that I see locally running quality operations are measuring grass in this manner, and wouldn't go back to a situation where they aren't measuring at least once per week. It might not be for everyone, and there is no one forcing anyone to measure grass but I cannot really see how anyone could find fault with the practice, when it does exactly what it says on the tin. They know where they are with grass at all times, it won't make it grow faster or slower but they at least know where they are at with it. The higher stocked you are the more important the measuring becomes I guess as any errors in management will cause issues a lot faster. Your comment above re what happened locally to you is in relation to a fodder budget rather than a grass measure I think so don't really see why that has anything to do with their measuring of grass? Sounds like they made lovely silage, but not enough of it to suit the winters in your area, but grass measuring is not to blame for that, stocking rate may be the issue rather than grass measuring there.
 

JohnBoy

Well-Known Member
Folks, call me backward or living in the last century but I can't fathom out this art of grass measuring cutting and weighing grass.
It makes me wonder that when your out and about through the paddocks that people cant observe whats going on your farm knowing where regrowth is fast or slow and knowing a general weather forecast for 7 to 10 days ahead where your going to have to much or to little.
No matter what science and measuring says and how accurate it may be ,the cow will be the one that will tell you how good or bad your calculations are.
I see 3 of the neighbours here ( dont know much about other 2 ,there was 5 trail farms locally ) but they were rearing dairy bull calves on trial for 12 months for teasgasc.teagasc gave them a figure for quantity of silage required for the winter that would be required on their farms.in fairness they all produced top quality silage but the figures they were given was 2 months out.they were all buying.
That's why I'm secepital of doing figures saying you have plenty of quality in front of the cow.when instead a good observing eye and common sense is far more practical .

Is the cutting/weighing practice not just a way to calibrate that eye, and the grass wedge a tool to better plan what your gut and experience knows but optimising it for maximum efficiency.

it's a tool to be used in decision making, the problem you're describing sounds like where the tool became the decision maker, not an input into the decision making process.


There's a concept in business systems of data, information and knowledge.

The grass levels are the data (useless on their own) , the grass wedge is that data processed to become information(useful only to those who know how to interpret) and that is used to inform a knowledgeable person in their decision making.
 

Green Grass

Well-Known Member
In a intensive dairy area Here I have seen it all the boys measusing ,taking out paddocks short on grass the next week upping the meal to 8 kgs and feeding back the silage the following month .I could not be arsed measuring ,I have enough of mouths to feed ,if it gets a bit strong I premow if I am tight I feed a small bit more meal .Why do teagasc make every thing simple so difficult
 

Rusty Spade

Well-Known Member
Folks, call me backward or living in the last century but I can't fathom out this art of grass measuring cutting and weighing grass.
It makes me wonder that when your out and about through the paddocks that people cant observe whats going on your farm knowing where regrowth is fast or slow and knowing a general weather forecast for 7 to 10 days ahead where your going to have to much or to little.
No matter what science and measuring says and how accurate it may be ,the cow will be the one that will tell you how good or bad your calculations are.
I see 3 of the neighbours here ( dont know much about other 2 ,there was 5 trail farms locally ) but they were rearing dairy bull calves on trial for 12 months for teasgasc.teagasc gave them a figure for quantity of silage required for the winter that would be required on their farms.in fairness they all produced top quality silage but the figures they were given was 2 months out.they were all buying.
That's why I'm secepital of doing figures saying you have plenty of quality in front of the cow.when instead a good observing eye and common sense is far more practical .
Everyone measures grass, you have to to manage it. But there's a big difference between saying there's enough there for another week and knowing there's enough there for the next week but then I'm in trouble with too much or too little grass. Too much and I can take it out early and keep good quality ahead of the cows, too little and I can slow them down and top up with a kg or two of meal until growth catches up again.

If I wait and grass gets too strong, I won't get good clean outs and have to come in and top instead of spending the same time cutting and baling it and moving onto better quality grass.
If I wait and grass gets scarce, I'll have to come in with ration and silage or very strong silage ground to bridge the gap. Either option is costly but keeping a constant, steady supply of quality grass ahead of the cows is the most profitable for me.

With dairying, we have a feedback mechanism on our management every 3 days so it's way easier to see when you get it right and when you get it wrong. Beef lads don't have that unless they weigh regularly and very, very few do that.

I do know I wouldn't go back to just eyeballing grass, I can manage better by knowing what's coming down the line. A bit like keeping track of your current account, you have a better idea what you can spend when you know what cheques you've written and what ones are cashed already.

But it doesn't suit everyone.
 

Crystal 8011

Well-Known Member
I've used both cut and weigh and plate meter methods and to be honest i don't use any now. I graze at 8 - 10 cm this is the 3 leaf stage which is ideal. There are plenty other jobs to be done besides a half day measuring grass.
 
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